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Dear Friends,

I am taking a break from sharing Hope Acts news this month. Instead, I am asking you, supporters of Hope Acts and the broader immigrant community, to learn about and advocate for Portland and statewide budget proposals that support asylum seekers. 

Asylum seekers are not eligible for most government programs and they are not permitted to work for up to a year while they await federal work authorization. Therefore, asylum seekers need assistance with basics such as food, rent, and health care. 

LD 1317, An Act To Restore Services To Help Certain Noncitizens Meet Their Basic Needs would have statewide impact. This legislation would restore asylum seeker benefits for food, and health care, and support for families with children.  Please urge your state legislators to support LD 1317.

Portland's City Manager has proposed cutting the Portland Community Support Fund (PCSF) significantly in the upcoming year and eliminating it completely for subsequent years  PCSF is a lifeline for Portland's asylum seekers. Please contact Portland City Councilors and ask them to ensure PCSF is sufficiently funded.

The local and statewide proposals for supporting asylum seekers could profoundly impact the people served by Hope Acts. That's why I am sharing more details below. It's also why I testified at Portland City Hall and at the State House in the last few weeks along with many other advocates.

Let's be sure Hope House residents and all asylum seekers have their basic needs addressed so they can begin rebuilding their lives in our community. 

Thank you for your support,

Martha Stein
Executive Director
 
A Statewide Opportunity to Support Asylum Seekers

LD 1317, An Act To Restore Services To Help Certain Noncitizens Meet Their Basic Needs, introduced by Westbrook Representative Drew Gattine, returns access to anti-poverty programs (SNAP, TANF, and Medicaid) for immigrants
who were unfairly denied support beginning in 2011. LD 1317 corrects a mean-spirited, inhumane policy by the LePage administration. This legislation restores a more equitable safety net that does not discriminate against people based on race, ethnicity, religion, or country of origin. 

In addition to the moral imperative to address basic needs, Maine needs immigrants. Our state's workforce-aged population and the total population are shrinking. Immigrants are a huge part of the solution. Let's take care of everyone, including asylum seekers. It is the morally right thing to do and it makes economic sense too!  Please contact your legislators and ask them to support LD 1317.
Portland Community Support Fund (PCSF) and "the Gap"

The Portland Community Support Fund (PCSF)  was created in 2015 when the LePage Administration made asylum seekers ineligible for certain state funds to cover basic needs. PCSF assists with food, rent and medical assistance to asylum seekers who, because of the status of their asylum cases, fall into a "gap, making them ineligible for General Assistance.

PCSF funds for 2018-19 have largely been depleted. This means that some asylum seekers, including some living at Hope House will not receive food or prescription medication benefits for a month or more through the end of the fiscal year (June 30, 2019). Others will not be able to receive housing assistance. 

Portland has been a great supporter of asylum seekers.  Employers are eager to hire these newcomers once they have a work permit. But, City Manager Jon Jennings, facing pressure not to raise taxes, is recommending a $50,000 cut to PCSF next year and complete elimination of the fund in the following year. These anti-immigrant proposals, if enacted, would be very harmful to our community.

Please contact Portland City Counselors and ask them to adequately fund PCSF.
Spring Wishlist:
  • Calling on volunteers to help us paint Hope House apartments. If you are part of a group or would like to help on your own, we welcome you for a few hours or a few days! We also need assistance with maintenance tasks throughout the year. Please contact martha@hopeacts.org if you are interested.
 
  • For our Hope House apartments, we seeking 2 microwave ovens. And, with spring FINALLY arriving, we would appreciate donations of fans for our apartments and community space. Please contact carolyn@hopeacts.org if you would like to donate gently used or new items.
THANK YOU
Shopping on Amazon.com? Please go to smile.amazon.com and choose Hope Acts. We will receive .05% of your purchase as a donation from Amazon.  THANK YOU!
Here's a really easy way to help Hope Acts!  Would you CLYNK for us?  If you would be willing to turn your recyclables into a donation for Hope Acts (in Maine -- bottles and cans that include a deposit), send an email to martha@hopeacts.org with your mailing address and we'll send you a few bar-coded bag stickers. Put the sticker on a CLYNK bag, fill and return the bag to a participating Hannaford supermarket.  THANK YOU.

Thank you, in advance, for your financial support of Hope Acts. Your donation today provides housing, classes, and a sense of community for immigrants, allowing them to achieve their goals for a successful future. Please visit hopeacts.org/give or mail a check to Hope Acts, PO Box 7615, Portland ME 04112.
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Hope Acts · PO Box 7615 · Portland, ME 04112 · USA

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